Social Venture Capital Transforming India

EdReformer reporting from Hyderabad, India

After serving as chief strategist for Revolution Living (the Steve Case company, no affiliation of Revolution Learning) and Patagonia, Vishal Vasishth returned to India to create an investment house that was a mixture of Goldman Sachs talent and Patagonia values.  Song is a private equity advisor focused on small businesses with the potential of producing public benefit including education, health, finance, and communications.  Vishal believes a sound business model and strong execution can deliver quality at scale.  He believes that enterprise will do more to lift people from poverty than aid.  Soros, Omidyar, and seem to agree.
After selling a real estate development firm in Atlanta, Bob Patillo formed Grey Ghost Ventures to “invest collaboratively in innovative, early stage enterprises that contribute to the well-being of low-income communities in emerging markets and provide an attractive financial return.”  Bob is leading microfinance and micro-venture investor in India.  A few of his projects include:

  • Village Capital is, as said what would result if microfinance and angle investing had a baby, “Village Capital focuses on risky early stage social ventures like traditional angel investors, but is using a more cooperative, entrepreneur collaboration model borrowed from microfinance to make their investment decisions.”
  • India School Finance Company extends loans to low-cost (US$5-12/month) private schools
  • Gray Matter Capital is developing a rating system to boost quality of low cost independent school and build access to capital.

It is exciting to see a new generation of funders combine a head for business and a heart for impact.  It is making a difference in India.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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1 Comment

Hans Hageman

I'm glad to finally get to comment. As someone who has formed three independent schools for underserved populations (two in Harlem and one in Lucknow, India), your blog provides great insight into trends in the public and entrepreneurial education spaces.

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